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welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we are following this hour. u.s. leaders say they're mulling over military action against syria, but that option has drawn a lukewarm response from other allied countries. workers at japan's crippled nuclear plant are failing to stop leaks of radioactive water. nuclear watch explores a crisis
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that's pushed government officials to take control. u.n. inspectors investigating alleged use of chemical weapons are scheduled to leave syria on saturday. western leaders believe syrian government forces were behind last week's attack that killed hundreds of civilians in the suburbs of damascus. u.s. president barack obama and his allies are considering military action, but they're facing strong opposition. british prime minister david cameron's coalition government proposed a motion that would have authorized british forces to join a strike, but a majority of lawmakers, including members of his own party, rejected the motion. >> the is to the right, 272. the nos to the left 285. so the nos have it. >> it is clear to me that the british parliament reflecting the views of the british people does not want to see british military action. i get that and the government
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will act accordingly. >> french president francois hollande says the british parliamentary vote will not affect his country's will to punish the syrian government. he told newspaper it's up to each sovereign country to decide whether or not to participate in a military operation. but some u.s. allies in the war on terror are cautious. officials in poland, italy and canada say their militaries will not take part in any action without the endorsement of a u.n. security council resolution. president obama is also facing opposition at home. a new public opinion poll showed opponents of u.s. military action outnumbered supporters. >> hands off syria! >> protesters gathered in front of the white house. they recalled the country's rush to war in iraq more than a decade ago. a move that was based on incorrect information. >> when the people in america
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voted for president obama, they thought finally george bush is leaving, no more bush, no more unilateral wars but what is president obama doing? exactly what president bush did. >> the u.n. inspectors left a hotel in damascus on friday apparently heading for inspection sites. they plan to leave syria on saturday morning shortening their stay. a resident of damascus says people are stocking up on food and moving away from military facilities out of concerns of possible military attacks. a u.s. television network says the united states has proof that top syrian military officials discussed last week's chemical weapons attack after it reportedly took place. cnn says they intercepted telephone conversations form the basis for the u.s. conclusion that the syrian government was behind the attack. cnn quotes u.s. officials as saying the conversations show
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discussing the chemical attack in detail. they also said officers said it would be wise to refrain from launching more chemical attacks in the future because of the attention it was drawing. u.s. defense secretary chuck hagel says the united states is still seeking an international coalition to act in unison. britain's parliament has rejected military action. >> our options as we continue to consult with our allies will further develop the facts and intelligence on what happened. >> hagel says the use of chemical weapons violates the base of humanitarian standards. life for people in syria since the civil war that began two and a half years ago has been a nightmare. the u.n. says nearly two million people have fled the country. now the situation appears to only be getting worse. at the lebanon border, refugees are expressing fear over both chemical weapons attacks and possible u.s. air strikes.
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nhk world's sho beppu reports from the border town of masnaa. >> reporter: this is the border area between syria and its neighboring country, lebanon. more and more people escaped the turmoil in syria and take refuge in the lebanese side. this checkpoint is only about a 30-minute drive from the syrian capital, damascus. lebanon has accepting people fleeing syria. it already hosts more than 700,000 refugees. as the u.s. gears up for military action, more people are crossing the border.
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>> reporter: the people i spoke to expressed mixed feelings. >> reporter: they said military strikes might resolve frustration but they do not trust the u.s. either. >> reporter: the people displaced by the civil war have no idea what the future holds for them, still, large numbers are cross the border to you the of fear and desperation. sho beppu, nhk world on the syrian/lebanon border. negotiators from 12 countries taking part in transpacific partnership free
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trade talks have issued a joint statement. they say they will try to conclude an agreement within this year. the trade officials wrapped up the 19th round of tpp negotiations in brunei on friday. the joint statement stressed that the latest talks achieved progress in working out the language of a pact that covers seven fields. they include elimination of tariffs on industrial and farm products and drafting rules for the protection of copyrights and intellectual property. and what role did japan play to contribute to the progress in the latest round? nhk world's reports from brunei. >> reporter: this is the first time for japan to take part in the talks. and negotiates say japan's presence has made a difference. through the past rounds the u.s. had pressed for high levels of
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new trade rules based on standards. but many other nations are much more cautious. they see needs to protect in their domestic industries. sources say japan played a mediating role to help ease the tensions. japan called on the u.s. to become more flexible and seek the balanced approach to accelerate the process. the bottom line though is that the situation remains difficult. and negotiators still have to find ways to narrow the wide gaps in their positions in such fields as tariff elimination and creation of new patent rules. in the joint statement, the participating countries have pledged to continue intensively to reach a broad agreement by
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october. but some nations remain skeptical whether they can reach such an accord by that time. the negotiators plan to step up efforts at exfra meetings scheduled for coming weeks. nhk world, brunei. the eurozone's labor market seems to be still struggling. the european union has reported that the jobless rate in the region remained at its worst level in july for five straight months. they used statistics on friday that unemployment in the 17-nation zone stood at 12.1% last month. this is the highest level since the euro was introduced in 1999. in spain, 26.3% of people were without work staying at the same level from june. portugal's labor market showed a slight improvement. the jobless rate edged down 0.2% to 16.5%. for greece, the latest data are
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available only for may. 27.6% were jobless in that nth. that's up 0.6 points from april. prime minister shinzo abe may have pushed japan a little further out of deflation. officials released a new figure -- or released new figures showing consumers paid more in july for the second month running. internal affairs officials announced the consumer price index was up over last year by 0.7%. that's the biggest rise in almost five years. the index does not include volatile fresh food prices. energy importers had to offset the effects of the weaker yen. drivers saw gasoline go up more than 10%. and people also paid about 10% more for electricity bills.
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the people in charge of japan's crippled nuclear plant say they're facing their worst crisis since the triple meltdown at the facility. every day hundreds of tons of water accumulate inside fukushima daiichi. hundreds more are contaminating water with radioactive particles. in this edition of nuclear watch, we're looking at the latest to bring the situation back under control. >> reporter: workers at fukushima daiichi have struggled to stop radiation from escaping into the environment ever since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the facility. one of the main sources of contamination is the groundwater that flows from the mountains into the nuclear plant. government officials used tokyo electric power company data to estimate the extent of the
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problem. they said approximately 300 tons of water was filtering through the site until early this month, becoming laced with radioactive materials and then seeping into the sea. another factor is the ever-increasing amount of water accumulating inside damaged infrastructure. once it makes its way into reactor buildings it mixes with radioactive isotopes. for months, tepco workers have been pumping up 400 tons of water every day and storing it in tanks on site. tepco officials say they have about 1,000 tanks containing almost 340,000 tons of water. they say they are at nearly 90% capacity. last week, workers detected a major leak in one of those tanks.
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about 300 tons of water escaped, releasing several quadrillion becquerels of radioactive particles. it was the worst single leak since the immediate aftermath of the 2011 accident. >> translator: there have been four instances of leakage from these tanks in the past, but the latest is the largest to date. sglrks. >> nhk world has been covering the recent leaks at fukushima daiichi. he tells us why the situation is so serious. >> inspectors measured radiation levels around the storm warniag that leaked. they detected up to 100 millisieverts. a worker exposed to those levels would reach his annual exposure limit in just 30 minutes.
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nuclear regulators rated this single leak a level 3 incident on an international scale that classifies nuclear events. plant managers still don't know the exact cause, but experts question the design of this type of storage tank. >> they're made of steel plates, bolted together, rather than welded. a resin seal lant is supposed to prevent contaminated water from seeping out. >> some experts say this is the tank's main weakness. there are about 300 of them on site. we have learned that tepco workers didn't keep any records of visual inspections of the
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tanks. they didn't equip some tanks with devices to detect change in water levels. managers say they will put these devices in older tanks and they say they will send inspectors more regularly. they have also promised to replace the bolted tanks with more reliable containers. tepco executives are promising to set up a special task force to deal with the contaminated water issue. and they say they will invite experts from outside japan to help them tackle the crisis. tepco engineers are trying to tackle the problem by limiting the inflow of ground water into
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the plant. they have been building wells between the mountains and reactor buildings to capture some of the water before it reaches the site and becomes contaminated. and they are also digging wells around the coast to pump up tainted water to try to limit the leakage from inside the buildings. but it's not clear how effective all these efforts will be. one thing is clear though tepco seems incapable of dealing with this problem on its own. now, japanese government will plant an underground wall to isolate the facility. the government needs to take charge entirely. more bad news for the people trying to control the contaminated water leak at the
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fukushima plant. officials with japan's nuclear regulator say there may be more than one storage tank that's leaking radioactive water. tepco officials broke the news to their counterparts from the nuclear regulation authority on friday. they say radioactive readings inside a ditch leading into the pacific ocean have been rising since tuesday. they say workers have found higher concentrations of strontium and other beta ray emitting substances in the ditch. the ditch may have collected more spilled radioactive materials as a result of rainfall. but he also suggested that more than one tank may be leaking. he told the tepco managers to start monitoring the tanks more closely. workers at tepco have also reported a plunge in levels of chlorine and radioactive materials inside a utility tunnel after work began to pump out densely contaminated water. nra officials say the readings probably dropped when low chlorine groundwater flowed into the tunnel.
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they say this could mean tainted water from the tunnel seeped into the soil and mixed with groundwater. a suicide bomber in afghanistan has attacked people attending a memorial service killing a local district chief and seven others. at least 11 people were wounded. security in the war-torn country appears increasingly tenuous as most international troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014. a.p. reports the bomber struck on friday morning at a mosque in kunduz province. the district chief was the apparent target. he was killed while attending the memorial service of a tribal elder. there was no immediate claim of responsibility. the taliban already staged multiple attacks this week leaving dozens dead and many wounded. militants appear to be stepping up their campaign of violence as afghanistan prepares to face two
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critical moments, the departure of most foreign troops as well as the presidential election scheduled for next april. u.s. defense secretary chuck hagel has indicated the united states intends to keep strengthening its alliance with the philippines. hagel visited manila at a time when the philippines and china are embroiled in an increasingly bitter maritime dispute. nhk world reports. >> reporter: chuck hagel ice visit to the philippines is a first by the u.s. defense secretary in four years. and his final stop on a week-long visit to southeast asia. he talk e held talks on friday. he stressed america's commitment to negotiations on a new military agreement between the two countries which began earlier this month. >> this progress is welcomed and encouraging. i noted that our negotiating teams are working hard to finish
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the framework agreement in the near future. >> reporter: the agreement would fit well with the obama administration's policy of placing greater strategic importance on the asia-pacific region. the so-called comes as chinese influence is also spreading. tensions are rising in the south china sea where several countries including china, the philippines and vietnam have overlapping claims to sovereignty. the united states hopes to keep china in check by increasing its military relationship with the philippines. the allies are discussing proposed joint use of philippine military bases and the presence of u.s. military aircraft and ships in the southeast asian nation. but among the general public, voices of opposition are growing louder. they claim joint use is a first step to permanently stationing
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u.s. military on philippine soil. >> the united states does not seek permanent bases in the philippines. that would represent a return to an outdated cold war mentality. >> reporter: events in syria overshadowed much of hagel's agenda this week. visiting the philippines may ease concerns among u.s. allies that washington's focus is being pulled back towards the middle east. it also sends a message to china that the importance of asia remains a priority to the united states. nhk world, manila. it was hot and sunny in tokyo, but it wasn't that way in western japan. the area was hit by heavy rainfall and even flooding. for more we turn to meteorologist robert speta. robert. yeah. let's first start off talking about what is going on out here across the sea of japan coastline with this front that is pushing through here. we also have a tropical storm out there in the east china sea. but this is really dropping some
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tremendous amount of rainfall there in western kyushu, reports up yards about 300 millimeters in the past 24 hours. the rain's really coming down out here, even into the hokuriku region. you can see the cloud cover continuing to stream onshore with the stationary boundary. and that is just pushing the rainfall on shore into the mountains there and it's resulting in some flooding. show you video out of hokuriku in sado where the rain has accumulated up to about 70 millimeters in the past 24 hours. officials are cautioning about, well, possibility of landslides. we see that rain -- water continue to flow down that stairwell there. the possibility of even flooding is there. and residents are being advised, just be prepared for the poblgt of evacuations in some of these areas especially in low lying areas because that water's continuing to stream onshore with this storm system. well, even farther down towards the south i did mention kong-rey that is still our tropical
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storm. it's even bringing heavy rainfall still across tie waait. that moisture inflow, some areas here have now seen in the past 48 hours over 100 millimeters of rain. several casualties reported there as well just due to the intense flooding. now all that threat is shifting off to the northeast across much of japan. as far as tropical storm kong-rey, it is going to continue to weaken saturday becoming a tropical depression merging with our stationary boundary. heavy rainfall across much of western japan. and still expected into the hokuriku region. into the pacific coast here we are going to be seeing heavy showers possibly, isolated showers. only into the afternoon and evening hours it's going to be expected out there. but temperatures are really going to stay on the warm side here on saturday. 36 expected for the high. it's going to cool off though as that cold front does continue to push overhead. 28 there in seoul. that's eventually going to work its way out there towards the east going into next week. now, here into the americas,
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well, i want to talk about the severe weather that is rolling across the great lakes. the western great lakes, you actually saw a tornado in minnesota. there was tornado watches issued there into thursday evening. well, that threat's still going to shift off to the great lakes, but this one is what i want to talk about because that's the next big weathermaker, nots just heavy rain and thunderstorms expected on saturday and sunday across the upper midwest, temperatures are going to come down. going to feel more like it should in september. chicago down to 23. toronto at 21. even new york you're going to be seeing a little dip in the temperatures going into midweek. here into europe actually a cooler forecast is in play here. if you're out there towards the northwest, we have a storm system coming in off the atlantic. you can see that cold front stretching through there. it's bringing windy and breezy conditions across much of the uk, also rain showers for you. much of central and eastern europe much fairer weather here. isolated thunderstorms popping up across the mediterranean, but that cold front as that pushes
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through, well, we are seeing the same thing in asia and also over towards north america, temperatures going to come down. london with a high of 20, paris at 23, berlin at 23. berlin, your highs by monday will only be into the teens. that's a look at the world weather. here's the extended forecast.
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a japanese astronaut is preparing to blast off straight into the history books.
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he'll be the first japanese to command the international space station. koichi wakata is counting down the months. he and two other astronauts are training at the johnson space center in texas. they're running simulations to prepare for any emergencies that might occur during their mission. these include fire and rapid loss of cabin pressure. he practiced issuing instructions to the other astronauts in communicating with ground control staff by radio. wakat a will head up to the space station in november aboard the russian spacecraft. he'll be there for six months and serve as commander for the final two months. >> i will like to keep a good communication between the crew members and also all the mission control centers and program folks. and that's the key. and i would like to contribute to the good communication of the team. >> wakata will also train in germany and russia before he
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begins his historic assignment. that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo.
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♪ job fairs like this are held almost every month in china. the number ow
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